With help from Craig Blomberg’s Jesus and the Gospels, here’s a reconstruction of events on Easter Sunday. This is my final installment in the Holy Week series.


Some women arrive at Jesus’ tomb near dawn, probably with Mary Magdalene arriving first.

Matthew 28:1

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

Mark 16:1-3

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another,

“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”

Luke 24:1

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.

John 20:1

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.


Mary and the other women, instead of finding Jesus’ body, are met by two young men who are angels; one of them announces Jesus’ resurrection.

Matthew 28:2-7

And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women,

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”

Mark 16:4-7

And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them,

“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”

Luke 24:2-7

And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them,

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”


The women, fearful and joyful, leave the garden—at first unwilling to say anything to anyone about this but then changing their mind and going to tell the Eleven.

Mark 16:18

And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Matthew 28:8

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.


Mary Magdalene likely rushes ahead and tells Peter and John before the other women arrive.

John 20:2

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,

“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”


The other women, still en route to tell the disciples, are met by Jesus, who confirms their decision to tell the Eleven and promises to meet them in Galilee.

Matthew 28:9-10

And behold, Jesus met them and said,

“Greetings!”

And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

Then Jesus said to them,

“Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”


The women arrive and tell the disciples that Jesus is risen.

Luke 24:8-11

And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.


Peter and John rush to the tomb (based on Mary Magdalene’s report) and discover it empty.

John 20:3-10

So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Luke 24:12

But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.


That afternoon Jesus appears to Cleopas and a friend on the road to Emmaus; later Jesus appears to Peter

Luke 24:13-35

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them,

“What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”

And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him,

“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

And he said to them,

“What things?”

And they said to him,

“Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them,

“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying,

“Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.”

So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other,

“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying,

“The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”

Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.


That evening Jesus appears to the Ten (minus Thomas) in a house (with locked doors) in Jerusalem

Luke 24:36-43

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them,

“Peace to you!”

But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.

And he said to them,

“Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them,

“Have you anything here to eat?”

They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

John 20:19-23

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,

“Peace be with you.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again,

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

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Comments:


7 thoughts on “Holy Week: What Happened on Sunday?”

  1. Jason says:

    Justin,
    I read all of the gospel accounts together this morning and there seem to be some inconsistent reports, so I appreciate you sharing this proposed chronology. Now, Mark 16:9-11, we find that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene, not to the other women. How does that fit in the chronology? Or do we skip it because it was not part of the earliest manuscripts?

    Thanks for your ministry.

    Jason

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Sorry. I’ll try to fix that later.

  2. MarkO says:

    Thanks for these day by day harmonies. I have been studying the Crucifixion and Resurrection in more detail than ever before and am still puzzled by the discrepancy between Matthews account of Mary Magdalene and John’s account. They don’t seem to fit together. I am wondering why there is seemingly no room to fit Mary’s encounter with “the gardener” into Matthew’s post Resurrection sequence. Any ideas?

  3. Mitch Freeman says:

    MarkO,
    Craig Bloomberg does a great job explaining why the resurrection accounts are different. (1)One writer will often summarize an event, while another will include more detail. (2)The writers didn’t set out to provide a chronological sequence of Jesus’ life. Instead, they frequently arranged their writing thematically or topically. (3) Each writer, therefore, is very selective in the content they include. And (4)when recording the events, the writers often times paraphrase words.

    Concerning Mary’s account, the best harmony that I’ve seen has Mary with the other women as they approach the tomb (Mk.16:3-4). When they see that it is open, Mary turns around and runs to tell the disciples (Jn.20:1-2)while the other women approach the tomb and actually enter in (Lk.24:3-10). With the other women still at the tomb, Mary reaches the disciples with word of Jesus’ missing body (Jn.20:2). Peter and John return to the tomb–along with Mary (Jn.20:11). By this time the other women have left to tell the disciples (Matt.28:8)–evidently the two groups missed each other, perhaps in the Jerusalem streets. Peter and John return as well, leaving Mary alone at the tomb (Jn.20:10). This is when Jesus appears to her (Jn.20:12-18).

    1. matthew davis says:

      Mitch, im not positive it happened that way, but it makes sense me!

  4. W. Vida says:

    Thanks Justin, I found this to be helpful.

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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